Patients and clinical professionals discuss the potential of genomic medicine in Navarra

In order to analyze and disseminate the potential that genomic medicine has in public health care in Navarra, Navarrabiomed has brought together patients and clinical and research staff from the NAGEN program at the Pamplona / Iruña Planetarium.

Led by the public biomedical research center together with the University Hospital of Navarra, NAGEN is a strategic programme, financed by the Department of Economic and Business Development of the Government of Navarra, to implement genome analysis in the clinical practice of the Navarra Health Service -Osasunbidea (SNS-O).

The medical challenges of the future require promoting personalized and precision medicine, and the most disruptive change comes from the knowledge of the genetic profile of each person in order to adjust the most appropriate health care, at the right time, according to their individual characteristics. their health or disease states. It is a path in which each patient is at the center and in which research and collaboration are key in the health ecosystem.

This was pointed out by the Minister of Health, Santos Induráin, during the institutional opening. Induráin has highlighted the importance of sharing experiences, achievements and difficulties in the progressive advance towards personalized medicine “to improve the assistance provided to the patient, contribute to a more rational use of health resources and favor the sustainability of the public health system ”. In addition, she has stated that “the NAGEN program has positioned Navarra at the forefront of this methodology at the state level, and can be an important instrument for regional development since it promotes biomedical research and explores a new area of ​​industrial development”.

For her part, the director of Navarrabiomed, Maite Mendioroz, underlined “the need for research and clinical care to be well interconnected. This bidirectional transfer is necessary to put the patient at the center of the research, and thus ensure that the research activity has a direct impact on people’s quality of life”.

Mendioroz also dedicated a few words of thanks to patients, patient associations, center staff, and public health professionals “who make initiatives such as NAGEN come out of the laboratory and be applied in consultations.”

Experts and patients share their testimony

A discussion table was then moderated by Ángel Alonso, head of the Navarrabiomed Genomic Medicine Unit, who explained the beginnings of the program that began in 2016 with the NAGEN1000 project, dedicated to the diagnosis of rare diseases: “The success of this first project led us to expand its field of application to other sectors such as pharmacological prescription, familial hypercholesterolemia, rapid diagnosis for the management of children in severe acute clinical situations, or the prevention of breast cancer”. The colloquium that has brought together patients, relatives of patients and genetic counselors in the same forum has revolved around these issues.

During the conversation, special emphasis was placed on the usefulness of the complete study of the genome to obtain an accurate diagnosis in cases of disease in which there is no specific clinical suspicion, the possibility of obtaining secondary findings that allow preventive controls to be established in diseases such as breast cancer, the genetic study in direct relatives or the secondary reuse of genomic data for clinical and research purposes.

The Associations of Patients in Navarra have also played a prominent role in the conference, represented by María José Oraá, president of Saray. According to Oraá “through the empowerment of the patient, the quality of health care can be considerably improved. In this sense, the study of the genome allows us to know each patient individually, we do not cure the disease, but rather we understand that specific patient”. The president of Saray has referred to knowledge and research as levers for better health, and has recalled the role played by patient associations, with a long history behind them in social awareness, dissemination and disease prevention .

Scientific conference for clinical and research staff

The talk-colloquium brought to an end the conference organized by Navarrabiomed under the title “The potential of Genomic Medicine in public health care in Navarra”, which also included a scientific session this morning at the University Hospital of Navarra, aimed at clinical and research staff. The meeting has analyzed the present and future of the NAGEN program, and has had the participation of Juan Cruz Cigudosa, Minister of University, Innovation and Digital Transformation.

During his speech, the Minister highlighted the progress of Personalized Medicine in the Autonomous Community in recent years, with the support of the Government of Navarra.

“The development of this Medicine, -Cigudosa pointed out-, is a firm commitment for this Government because it not only improves patient care, but also promotes scientific-technological research and stimulates economic development, making Navarra in a leading region in this matter”. In short, “we are bringing the medicine of the future, with high-level health services, to all citizens”, added Cigudosa.

The NAGEN program consists of 6 projects that are going to sequence nearly 3,500 genomes in Navarra in 9 years, and is one of the most ambitious initiatives in this field at a European level. The program has been awarded by the International Consortium of Personalized Medicine ICPerMed, with the award for Best Practice in Personalized Medicine in the 2018 and 2021 editions.

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